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Measuring online Public Relations’ ROI and impact


‘Online public relations’ is a very powerful marketing tool that is being used widely by the majority of online marketers and business owners to influence multiple stakeholders.

But what exactly makes online public relations an effective online marketing tool? How does online press release distribution result in improving a website’s ranking in major search engines?

Online press releases offer amazing visibility to a business, both in B2B and B2C. When a piece of news is published over the web, it is circulated to web portals, news sources and search engines. A business is able to enjoy instant visibility by virtue of submitting its press release at press release submission sites.

One of the benefits of online public relations is that it lets online businesses create quality backlinks for them. At the time of submission of PR on the web, businesses insert their website URL and backlinks in the PR text. This results in generating inbound links towards a website.

By submitting one’s press release to a recognized press release submission website, one can create several quality backlinks. The more the backlinks that a business is able to create, the better it is since quality backlinks improve the online credibility of a business. This eventually gives a boost to a website’s ranking on search engine result pages.

Good online press releases need to combine few things, one being high quality content directed to stakeholders, and another might that they need to be search engine friendly. They make use of right keywords and they support the content for the website. This allows search engines to understand and index the press release easily and quickly. When a press release is indexed by Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or other search engines, it appears on the search results returned by these search engines, improving the likelihood of the PR being read by a large number of web users.

No wonder why online press release submission is given so much importance in the online marketing world. If it is current, relevant, and contains unique material distributed in a proper manner, it should lead to strong visibility online through search and social.

What to have in mind when optimizing the release

If you wish to make the most of this potent search engine optimization tool, you have to keep a few important things in mind when writing and submitting a press release.

Make sure that your online PR is unique and news worthy. You may write about a product, or new technology that your company has come up with, or about a cause, or an issue that everyone in the media is talking and writing about. The topic and content of your press release must interest the readers and should convince them to read through it.

To get your press release noticed, and to ensure that it is being read, you can conduct a survey and then include the results in your press release. It is quite an effective strategy to position yourself as an industry expert and improve your creditworthiness in the industry by giving people best practice tips, publish white papers, or as mentioned above, survey results. For a similar purpose you may talk about your industry in general rather than talking about your business alone.

To attract the attention of the media, you can talk about a special event in your PR that your business organized or participated in – journalists are always on the lookout for unique material that they can use, and in the best case scenario be first with the news.

Measuring online impact of PR

Now that you know the basis of a good PR, you must also know how to measure the effectiveness of your online Public Relations ROI and impact.

As a business owner, it is imperative for you to measure the effectiveness of the online marketing strategies that you adopt to promote your business and to create a niche for yourself in the industry. Measuring the effectiveness of online public relations is simple, yet powerful.

Here are some of the ways in which you can measure online public relations effectiveness:

  • Find out how many times your press release is being read and preferably by whom. If your PR is being read several times in a day, it means that it is grabbing the attention of web users and you can use similar information for attracting web users to your website.
  • The success of a PR can be determined by the number of impressions that it gets via press release submission websites, RSS feeds, and Javascript. Check out how many impressions your release receives in one day.
  • It is important to know how people are able to find you on the web. Which search engines are they using to locate your release, how many people are reading the entire PR, who is skimming the headline, and who is interacting with your press release.
  • In order to measure the effectiveness of your online PR, you must find out which keywords are attracting people to your PR. The data can be used for improvising future press releases.
  • A good PR in many cases directly leads to sales. If you want to know whether your online public relations generated sales or not, you may ask your prospects where they heard about you. You will be able to know whether your online public relations efforts played any role in the decision making process of your prospects or not. You might also want to look at your Analytics data and examine the prospects behaviour on your site.
  • When measuring the effectiveness of your online PR, do not forget to measure your placement against that of your competitors. Find out how often and where your press release was published against that of your competitors to stay ahead of your competitors, and to get the maximum share of the market.
  • You might also want to measure impression shares. How often your brand was visible for a certain search term – searchers might not have clicked on your press release but they saw it and by that were influenced by it.
  • Look at your onsite Analytics data before and after, what is the impact based on the key performance indicators (KPI) you set before you started (don’t forget setting those KPIs).

There is no one, simple, all encompassing technique to measure the effectiveness of online public relations. It may be complex to measure PR effectiveness, but it is important, and if you want to reap the maximum ROI from your online public relations budget you have to measure the effectiveness of the same.

By investing time and effort in measuring the effectiveness of online PR, you can improve the quality of your online public relations and can thereby improve your business prospects.

One final thing I want to mention is that it does not matter whether you are in simple B2C sales cycles or complex B2B sales cycles, online content works great in educating the possible prospect on your services. As long as you write unique, educational, relevant material and don’t go over-board in distributing it you should be in good order.

Optimize Your Web
European Search Personality of the year 2014, Kristján Már Hauksson, is the Co-Founder and COO of SMFB Engine, based in Oslo, Norway. This newfound digital activation/marketing agency works closely with the award winning creative agency, SMFB, in making sure that each idea has the digital presence to make it fly. Kristján is a publish author on the topic Internet Marketing and Search Engine Marketing.